Getting Serious And Laughing Anyway

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Honestly, is there any other ride as crazy as parenthood? No answer needed. Let’s just exchange knowing glances.

Last night, my son decided to test my mettle. Listen, he’s a pretty great kid. He’s sharp and hilarious and sweet. A delight, truly.

Until the one random day (or night, in this case) that he decides to be 3. Just bratty and bad-behaved. For reasons he likely doesn’t grasp either, this child didn’t want to go to bed last night. He was determined, it seemed, to participate in a ridiculous exercise instead. A dance, actually, that goes something like this:

I tuck you in, say goodnight and see you in the morning.

You jump out of bed and run out before I even clear five feet.

I walk you back to bed, this time silently, tuck you in and leave.

You jump up, throw a book at the wall and run out—again.

And back we go to Step One.

This horrible routine went on for far too long before I changed the music. I started threatening:

If you don’t get to bed, you’re not going to be able to play with your trains tomorrow.

If you don’t stop this, you won’t be able to watch Curious George tomorrow.

Since you’re throwing books, I’m removing them from your room. (Actually, this wasn’t a threat. My son has A LOT of books, and I moved every last one into my closet. He’ll get them back tomorrow — maybe. There are indeed consequences to misbehaving.)

Finally, at 10:45 p.m. this child went to sleep — nearly three hours past his regular bedtime. But it was a wrap for me. By that time I was exhausted and annoyed, so, so annoyed. The whole ordeal stayed resting on my nerves while I slept. It even pulled me out of my morning meditation time! Come on, man, it’s hard enough as it is to release the external world and be still, I don’t need added distraction, young’un.

During post-breakfast playtime, I was still harboring some residual hmph. So now I was annoyed that I was still annoyed! But then something happened. It was so small, this thing, but it totally shook my mood up — for the better.

The Youngster was looking out the window at the fresh snow. He was pressed up to the glass, his eyes wide and face filled with awe, just marveling at how it coated everything in the backyard. I quickly ran to get my camera and snapped the picture above. I wanted to take more.

“Look at Mama again, this time look serious,” I said.

He looked puzzled in that darling way kids do… you know, looking up to the skies as if the answer might appear in the ceiling or the tip of their eyebrows.

He didn’t quite get what “serious” looked like. He asked me to do it, to look serious. I did, and he laughed. He kept laughing each time he tried to put on a serious face, which made me laugh too. Soon we were sitting on the floor, just cracking up, giggling at serious.

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